Wednesday, June 19

Free App Aims to Dissuade New Yorkers from Driving Drunk

Drivers in New York have a new way to stay off the road when they’re drunk, and it’s as simple as opening an app on their smartphones. The “Have a Plan” app was designed to reduce impaired driving by providing drivers with resources to test their sobriety, report drunk drivers, and look into other ways to get home.

“The most common punishment for a DUI conviction is custody with local law enforcement in the form of public work service,” says George Gedulin, Attorney at Law at Gedulin and Greany Criminal Defense Attorneys. “Essentially this is an eight hour period of physical labor in the custody of a Sheriff. Public works are often a 5-15 day sentence. For multiple DUI convictions custody can be enforced with actual time in jail or home detention. It is not uncommon to see individuals serve 120 days custody in jail.”

Users can take advantage of an alcohol impairment estimator, which uses data like gender, body weight, number of drinks and time elapsed to calculate how much alcohol the person has consumed since the first drink.The app also comes loaded with games to test sobriety, though law enforcement officials emphasize that these are just games and that drunk driving is still a very serious issue.The app also lets users put in a list of designated drivers to call and provides GPS guidance to the nearest taxi.To add a bit more gravitas, Have a Plan outlines the implications of a DWI conviction and allows users to connect directly to 911 with the click of a button to report a DWI.

The app is free to download and available on all mobile platforms. According to one of the app’s creators, Peggy Duffy, the app is aimed at drivers ages 18-34. “They are primarily our impaired drivers on our roadways and they’re more apt to go into an app then they are to go look for a cab number or something like that. It’s about giving them more tools,” Duffy told Time Warner Cable News.

The most recent county to adopt the app was Monroe County, which saw about about 2,700 DWI arrests on its roads last year. The county introduced the app on August 29th as part of its Labor Day crackdown on drunk driving.

Drivers can find the app on or in their phone’s app shop.

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